Friday, November 14, 2014

I've been working fanatically on my haiku, and this is the place where I discuss that, so I'll post an update. As I get more, I put it online, so it can be said that what you see there, at that site, is the total collection of all that I have in e pluribus. When I count what I could put in the next book, I now have 945. 55 to go, as I've set for myself the goal of having 1000 in each book from now on. And a further goal would be to have it be a different 1000, or at least many different ones. In other words, e pluribus in coming years may have different characters; one may be political, one may harken back to the old traveling days, etc.

As I go back and read what I have, I am continually disappointed that my standards have risen, yet among the 945, there are some that are repetetive, some that I don't like, some whose sound doesn't fit by my present standards. So I change, update, revise. Yet, with 50 states and the District, there are some I haven't even scratched. Haven't written more, haven't checked the order, haven't opened the link on the website. I will do this before I publish, of course; I'm doing the ones I consider most urgent first. I now have every place over a dozen; I now have at least one for every season for every place. This was a milestone I got the other day, about a week ago.

When I see haiku that have the same kigo (in Illinois, for example, there are about eight that use ice), I change some away, either with words, or by putting them in another state. I can revise so that I keep the original idea of the haiku, but change so the sequence of sound is more acceptable, so it reads better as you go through a state. This is what I've been working on. I want all 51 chapters to read well. People's response to the book is to open it up to their favorite state (one woman in Illinois opened it immediately to Florida; she was visiting at the time), and see what is there for their state. I don't want them to be disappointed, no matter where they're from. Each state starts in late June and moves through the late summer and into the fall, into the cold holidays, and on into the spring; I'm kind of weak on spring. A dozen states have a shortage of spring haiku. I'm also a little weak on fall, but I've been working on that. I'm finding better kigo, like turkey, sage, souls' day, and red poppies. In the spring, there's girl scout cookies, but that's not enough, yet. And of course it's hard to get in a spring mood when the winter is closing in on this little corner of the plains.

But I'm writing prolifically, sometimes seven or eight a day. It fits well with my lifestyle, in which I'm interrupted a lot, and spend a lot of time picking up children at school, or driving across town for some sports practice. I can mull one over and remember it until later in the day, when I have time to start it up again. Once I lost my little poetry paper, a colored piece of paper which I carry around everywhere, but was able to recover all six of the poems on it, because I had worked hard enough on each one, and because I think geographically, and knew where each of them was based. If you think geographically, you organize geographically, which means, for example, that various friends of mine who live in the same state are all filed in the same drawer in my mind. But I can very easily think about a place like Hawaii or Florida, as it gets steadily colder here, even though I've never been to Hawaii, and thus Hawaii is one of my weaker states. I just don't have the experience to know how it really feels; it's hard to make that up. The states I have the most trouble with are the ones I went through only at night, once, in a single season, like DE, SC, Washington DC, or ones I never set foot in, like ND and HI. I'm doing ok in the rest.

To take a moment and crystallize it into a single 5-7-5 poem is incredibly therapeutic; it's both escapist, and satisfying at the same time. I feel like I'm travelling again; recently I did GA, SC, and FL. Sometimes a lot of work or research will go into a single haiku; other times, they come freely, don't cost that much time, and get on paper very quickly. I would guess I could finish my goal, 55 more, by the end of the year, and may just go ahead and publish the new version the minute I have it. That's because, in many ways, a complete 1000-poem version would be the culmination of so many years of hard work, that it would be great to see it in that 1000-haiku version, even if the 1000 could be improved or expanded. It's a continual process, but getting to 1000, I will have arrived at a special point, and a new issue can definitely help celebrate that.

Needs more color, I think. More love, more trains, and more flowers, like sidewalk chamomile. These things have never represented all that much, in my life, but they don't have to, now, either. They just have to sit aside a more substantial idea, so that every experience is framed in life. And placed in a geographical location. It's a simple goal, perhaps possible.

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